If your lipstick company doesn't recycle, you can give five of your empty tubes of any brand to Ecco Bella and they'll recycle them into basketball backboards for needy schools. Then they'll give a coupon for a free lipstick to a needy you. Just take the lipsticks to any store selling Ecco Bella and away you go. [GT]
Boston's latest idea for reducing in-city litter is solar-powered self-compacting trash containers. Basically, you throw in your garbage, it crushes the contents down periodically, and therefore smells less and needs emptied less often - as infrequently as once or twice a day instead of a dozen to fifteen times. They also don't spill, unlike the traditional wire basket variety, and hold five times as much trash: 150 gallons versus the typical 30 gallon. [GT]
Hippyshopper emeritus Adam of thegreenguy attended a smokin' hot - or should it be cool green - Nokia demonstration of a mobile that pops into its constituent parts: screen, keypad, battery and circuit board... in seconds flat. It's prototypical now, but should lead to a world where there is less high-tech debris being shunted off to poorer countries where they're disassembled by the poor or elderly. From an economic perspective, if it means more components recycled into new products, with less impact from production, everybody wins. Britons discard a shocking number of mobiles every year, as demonstrated at the Dead Ringers? exhibition, and all progress on this front is huge. [GT]
While tidying the prodigious collection of familiana in my to-be-in-laws spare room, I discovered a packet of Old Money. No, not cash - that is, not anymore. Dolphin Blue Tree-Free stationery are made from kenaf, denim trimmings and old bills. Rather than dump bleach into the environment, all products are left their own low-key and lovely colour of ivory, pale blue or pale green respectively. Writing on the latter is a particularly luxurious experience (though one wonders how many recycled $20 bills are in there and therefore what the cocaine content is). [GT]
One of the top three worst issues with water bottles is the actual empty bottles. They're large, they pile up, and recycling them poses various issues. Enter the Belu water bottle, made compostably of corn like the BioBag, and filled with spring water from Shropshire. Just pitch it in your composter when its done and away you go! Not only that, but every bottle you buy pays for a Third World citizen to get free fresh water for an entire month. Belu is available at Waitrose and Tesco. [GT]
John Cole was on tea break at his logging job when he felt like messing around with some of the scrap wood, and he carved a large wooden mushroom. He took it home to his wife, who promptly demanded more. "If you did me another three," she said, "I could have a fairy ring." Since then it's burst out into a full career in his company The Magic of Mushrooms, with John making a variety of mushroom garden art, mushroom tables and chairs, and sculpture. His work has been written up in the Sunday Telegraph. [GT]
With the paperless office nowhere in sight, the best thing you can do is print as efficiently as you can manage. A great way to do this is with remanufactured cartridges. The cartridge itself is plastic, and in most cases will continue to produce perfectly acceptable print quality for several refills if they're professionally done. Plus, they tend to be way cheaper than first-run. TriStarToner has a wide range of laser toner cartridges and same for inkjet, and they offer free delivery on orders over £20. [GT / John]
Richard Tomkins of the Financial Times asks, "Is recycling utter rubbish?", which turns out to be a more interesting question than it seems. Recycling paper, for example, is a huge business because it's so cheap to do, but also involves dumping large amounts of dirty water after trucking heavy wads of raw material over to the plant. If forestry is managed correctly, Tomkins argues, paper is an infinitely renewable resource and it may well be more effective just to burn the used stuff to begin with. I'm iffy on this, but I agree on his points on glass: glass is made from incredibly common materials and it's quite possible that the break-even point on recycling versus junking may be negligible. Then there's Tomkins' Top Ten list of things we should do - some of which is downright startling.
The FREITAG store in Zurich is recycled in both senses of the word: the store is a skyscraper made from 17 used freight containers, and it sells FREITAG bags, made from recycled tarps. Lovingly [the freight-containers] were gutted, reinforced, piled up and secured. Zurich’s first bonsai-skyscraper: Low enough not to violate the city’s restriction on high-rise buildings. High enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine. FREITAG bags are available in pre-made patterns, but if you like, you can pick your own cuts and mix them together as you wish. [GT]
The R3 Project is a blog documenting how a couple of guys in Barcelona are renovating a flat "based on the 5 Rs of eco design:" recycle, reduce, reuse, recover and respect. Includes a well-illustrated post on how to do an eco-move and another good set of reminders on how to reuse what you already have. The most recent entry, Disposing of Debris for Recycling, notes something interesting about garbage disposal in Barcelona: when you buy the garbage bag, you also pay for the pickup as part of the fee. Brilliant - love it. [GT]
Wow. This is the most stylish little grill I've seen. The Pot de Feu grill is hand-made from old recycled propane tanks and at 6.5 pounds, 7 inches high and a foot across, is light enough to ship worldwide, and at $75 in rust patina, $80 in matte black, is affordable enough that I expect you to start thinking about the joy of grilling right on your tabletop - just stick a heat-resistant tile underneath and you're ready to do your own kebabs. Made by the same fella we've featured before, who makes the Great Bowl O Fire. (Yes, we want one of those too, but sometimes we have to go small to stay green.)
The Sietech has published some shockingly easy instructions on how to build your own solar thermal panel for next to nothing. The £2 price tag assumes that you can recycle the back grill from a refrigerator, and some window glass, but a visit to your local rubbish tip may well yield up the goods. Aside from that, all you need is a rubber floor mat, some foil backing, tape, pliers, some plastic tubing and a bucket of water. (via Groovy Green)
Eventually these kind of things will hit mass market, and probably be flavoured, so that when you're done eating the food, you can eat the plate. I speak of Stalk Market paper goods, which are made from leftovers from the sugar cane refining process. Actually, when you're done with them, you can turn them into flat paper, but the idea is to have heat-tolerant, liquid-tolerant, compostable, non-toxic disposable containers that aren't using up our trees. [GT]
We don't often use the word poop here at Hippyshopper; we're normally a bit more delicate than that. But the actual product in this situation is called Poop Bags, and it's a product worth mentioning, so, here we are, it's Wednesday and we're talking about poop. Well, strictly, the product is rebranded BioBags, and they're made from a combination of starch and vegetable oil, and other good stuff.